Wine at Martinborough Wine Tour ,  Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand

Martinborough Wine Tour

Vintners have been cultivating in Martinborough since the late 1970s, but the region started emerging from the shadows of New Zealand's more famous wine-making areas (Marlborough and Hawke's Bay) only recently. Particularly the Pinot Noirs have been making a huge impression – in 2010 a vintage from Schubert winery was named the World's Best Pinot at the Decanter Wine Awards, beating out competition from Burgundy (incidentally, the Martinborough soil conditions closely resemble those of the famous French region).

Touring in Martinborough is easy, thanks to the close proximity of the cellar doors (tasting rooms). You can practically visit on foot, though many choose to rent bikes, complete with saddle bags for holding purchased bottles, of course. If you just need a one-stop-shop, head to the Martinborough Wine Center in the center of town, which also has a lovely café and restaurant for lunch (know that it's cheaper to buy directly from the cellar doors).

There are more than 23 wineries in this region. Here are some of Indagare's favorites to visit:

  • Schubert (57 Cambridge Road)
  • Ata Rangi (14 Puruatanga Road)
  • Martinborough Vineyard (Princess Street)
  • Te Kairanga (89 Martins Road)
  • Escarpment (Te Muna Road; by appointment only)
Editors' Picks
People at Royal New Zealand Ballet , Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand - Courtesy Royal New Zeala

Royal New Zealand Ballet

New Zealand's resident ballet company came onto the international scene when star dancer Ethan Stiefel, a former principal with both New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, took over as artistic director in 2011. The repertory of the company includes everything from contemporary new commissions to tried-and-true classics (Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote). Stiefel no longer heads the company, but the fact that the Royal New Zealand Ballet has since toured in the U.S., the U.K. and Italy must be credited to his more big-picture approach to the dance world. The performances in their hometown of Wellington are extremely popular – if you know you will be in town during one of their runs, be sure to organize tickets well in advance.

Interior View - Te Papa New Zealand Museum , Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand

Te Papa New Zealand Museum

Banish all thoughts of a dusty museum – the Te Papa is an incredible place where you can easily spend a day learning about New Zealand culture, nature, history and contemporary life in interactive and beautifully presented exhibitions. Children especially will be entertained thanks to hand-on displays, which incorporate sight, sound, smell and touch into a visit. Much like in the Museum of Natural History in New York, there are whole sections devoted to animal life, including the skeleton of a 69-foot blue whale. There are also dramatic explanations of how the country came to exist, the massive volcanic eruption of 1886, and many Maori treasures, including a massive carved doorway.

The six-story building sits right on Wellington's waterfront and its cafés and gift shops are also of a surprisingly high quality. In short, if you are passing through Wellington even briefly, it would be a huge loss not to make a point of visiting this fascinating museum.

Indagare Tip: Start with the innovative film-cum-movie set-cum exhibit Golden Days, which depicts some of New Zealand's most fascinating historic events of the last 1000 years (in 13 minutes).

Most incredibly, it is open every day of the year and free of admission, although most visitors make a donation to this wonderful place.

Editors' Picks

Victoria Street Farmers' Market

This Sunday morning market is always packed with local shoppers seeking the freshest produce in the area. A maze of stacked cartons overflowing with juicy fruits and succulent vegetables leads toward the pier, lined with an eclectic variety of food trucks selling everything from paella and dumplings to French toast and microbrew coffee (a Wellington favorite). The Market is open every Sunday between 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Exterior View - Weta Workshop ,  Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand

Weta Workshop

Fans of Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films might want to plan in time to visit the Weta Workshop, the special effects company that has been working with the director since his early film days (this area is known as Wellywood). In some ways, it is ironic that Weta is now most famously associated with the two Tolkien trilogies, as the company has worked on countless other blockbusters, including Mad Max: Fury Road, Elysium and District 9. But for Peter Jackson enthusiasts, the 2.5-hour tour focused on Lord of the Rings lore is worth doing: Weta produced sets, costumes, armor and miniatures for the films and much of the memorabilia is in display here. After a tour, visit The Larder for a local lunch.

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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